Schilling: Field of Forces: Strategic Interdependence in Legislative Behavior

Emily U. Schilling of the University of Iowa presented a paper entitled Field of Forces: Interdependence in Legislative Decision Making, 26 April 2014 at the New Faces in Political Methodology conference, sponsored by the Penn State Quantitative Social Science Initiative, and held at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, USA.

Here is the abstract:

Since Woodrow Wilson’s (1885) analysis of Congress, researchers assumed that members of Congress look to one another for information, cues, and advice on unfamiliar policy areas. The amount of time and effort that each legislator and their staffers would have to put in to make all of these decisions would be insurmountable. Fellow legislators are a resource to turn to for guidance or assistance. Legislators cannot dictate what is law all on their own; they must make decisions as a collective. Legislators are able to influence their colleagues above and beyond each of their individual preferences. The members of Congress that are most influential will not necessarily be the same for every bill. The significant legislators may be one’s co-partisans and the party leadership or they may be a group of legislators with whom they share a common interest. Spatial analysis allows researchers to look more explicitly at the relationships between legislators and their counterparts. Using spatial probit, I study these issues by examining the factors that influence voting decisions. I will look at NAFTA testing which of the many relationships that every legislator has are most influential on their voting decision. The use of the spatial probit model provides an opportunity to test this relationship and see if even after controlling for other influences that there is dependence between legislators.

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